ozengo’s top 10 tips for taming omnifocus

Finding a task management app that appeals and blends in with your working style can take quite some time. At some stage you have to make a choice, stick to it and make it work. Unless, of course, you really enjoy exploring new productivity apps. I find it fascinating that developers come up with so many different approaches to the questions of what do I want/have to do and what is the best way for planning and keeping track of all these activities.

While I have settled upon Omnifocus as my preferred task manager, I am virtually always exploring one or two other apps at the same time. Right now, I am tinkering with asana and Donedesk (if you subscribe to my blog you will be notified by email as soon as the respective reviews  go live). Part of the attraction of entering tasks in a brand new app is the sense of exploration, coupled with a feeling of control: those first fifteen tasks stand there, neatly lined up, tagged and prioritised. They signal the new you, who will wake up clear-headed, have days of stellar achievement and seemingly effortlessly accomplish life goals… Any new app feels sleek and fast, like a regatta boat. By contrast, your trusted old task manager, with its hundreds of tasks collected over the years, can seem like a lumbering nineteenth-century frigate returning from a long ocean voyage, slowed down by the shroud of built-up seaweed on its keel.

It is not a fair comparison of course. Most promising new apps start revealing their flaws or limitations once you have used them for three or four weeks. For me, my ongoing struggle with Omnifocus has been how best to filter the multitude of my tasks in the absence of tags and using only the tools that are provided in the app: perspectives, start dates, due dates and flags. In this post I want to share my learning and workarounds with you in the hope that you will try, or stick with Omnifocus, which I consider the best productivity app around for Mac users. I am not in any way associated with the Omni Group.

If you are not a Mac user, or you want to look further afield, I recommend Priacta’s interactive table comparing productivity apps that are compatible with David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD)® approach. Continue reading

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the to-do list called todoist

Be warned: mention Todoist in conversation and everyone will hear to do list. Maybe it means I mumble. Maybe it means that people hear what they expect to hear. Maybe it means all the good names have been taken and app names are becoming more contrived. Maybe I am over-thinking this.

Todoist is quite a decent browser-based task management app and the basic version is free. Its user interface is reminiscent of GQueues: clean, simple and colourful, with a list of projects on the left and a task list in the centre of the page. The app is easy to use and can be set up to work with a getting things done® workflow. There are mobile versions for the iPhone and iPad.

Entering and sorting tasks in Todoist used to be irksome: you had to click on the ‘add task’ button, click on the ‘save’ button and then on the ‘I’m done adding tasks’ button. Re-arranging the order of tasks in a project used to be similarly cumbersome. A recent update has simplified these processes and introduced interesting new features, so you may want to give this simple but powerful app another chance. Continue reading